KEN MODE- ‘Loved’

‘Loved’, a scintillating smoke monster of a record, finds KEN Mode returning to do exactly what they do best. The Canadian trio’s noise rock tendencies might have angled out of control on their last album but this is the kind of acrid, bubbling melting pot of off-kilter hardcore, ugly metal, noise and fury that first brought them to the close attention of anyone that requires hate in their hardcore. ‘Feathers & Lips’ is a spitting, hissing rager, ‘Not Soulmates’ amplifies sludgy grunge to breaking point, and 8-minute closer ‘No Gentle Art’ is a roiling storm cloud of a song, as dark and foreboding as that chilling cover art. KEN Mode didn’t work with Steve Albini here for nothing though, and they sound fresher, more varied, and more direct here than ever before. Ok, maybe fresher is the wrong word, maybe “closer” is correct- this thing sounds like its breathing down your neck. ‘The Illusion of Dignity’ is lithe and sparse and features ear-splitting saxophone, ‘This Is a Love Test’ slopes and lurches in all the right ways, and new darkness is driven home with discordant quality all over the place. Comeback.

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